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the cloud, computers and telecommunications records. Teammembers can immediately review all relevant data, which is protected by role-based workflows and case-level permissions to break down operational barriers and get the right information to the right users to crack a case. • Ensure accuracy in investigations —Nothing is more important to law-enforcement officials than identifying the right suspects. The ability to review massive amounts of ingestible data—CCTV footage, text messages, social media posts, digital images—in a more efficient manner means investigators make fewer mistakes in arrests, leaving innocent people on the streets and actual perpetrators in handcuffs. • Conserve agency resources and spare teams the psychological stress of sorting through sensitive information —Centralized digital forensics libraries can automatically decode, index and store current and historic data frommultiple sources. By working with current data storage capabilities and policies, virtual libraries can allow users to explore data from all case files to find the information that’s needed, when it’s needed. Ultimately, partnering with companies like Cellebrite can help law-enforcement agencies analyze data more efficiently and help our country solve narcotics cases like the large drug bust in Arizona much more quickly. And that means fewer lives lost to opioid overdoses in the future. “We want to use digital clues to try to build our case,” said Ed Michael, digital forensics examiner at the Orlando Police Department. “If I didn’t have analytics, I don’t think I would have gotten results. It was very difficult to even form how to pull all this data together and how to search across it… [but with analyt- ics] it took, on average, maybe 10 to 15 minutes to load the data and view the results.”
Given the tremendous volume of data that comes from such varied sources and formats on today’s complicated mobile devices, the manual way of conducting data analysis is becoming increasingly difficult. Investigators are grappling with two impor- tant questions: how can we weed through irrelevant details to put our hands on exactly the right information we need to solve a case? And how can we find it quickly, to help prevent the next drug trafficking incident or overdose before it occurs? Cultivating more of the right leads in less time requires more than manpower—it demands strong computing power. Au- tomation has captured national attention for its potential impact on business and its ability to produce innovations like driverless cars, but there’s a significant opportunity to apply it to solve narcotics cases and other crimes more rapidly. For example, an automated system can use facial recog- nition and rapid categorization to sort through and organize thousands of images stored on a phone much faster than a hu- man ever could, enabling investigators to identify everyone who came into contact with a narcotics dealer. Likewise, computers can make the data extracted from a phone more searchable by converting images to text and applying natural language algorithms to rapidly sort through call records, emails, websites and text messages to pull out key information. For example, in one case investigators were able to track a drug dealer’s web of connections through text messages found on an overdose victim’s phone, which led to a search warrant that enabled them to access the phone of the last person who saw the victim alive. Another potential use of automation is in piecing together insights extracted from a phone’s geolocation data. When a cell phone is recovered, the geolocation data it contains can provide a wealth of information about drug ring members’ whereabouts, routines and meeting spots. But what’s the best way to make sense of all that data? With the help of digital analytics, investi- gators can quickly visualize the scope of a case, with maps and timelines based on suspects’ locations and communications flows—even combining this map data with outside information to identify patterns across suspects, events or other cases. Essentially, an automated data analysis process can simpli- fy, streamline and expedite the manual processes that otherwise might slow an investigation down. MAKE DIGITAL ANALYTICS WORK FOR YOU Advanced analytics engines are a powerful new tool in the fight against narcotics trafficking and related crimes. Today’s technology enables investigators to: • Glean insights that weren’t accessible before —The newest systems can classify unknown images that previously could not be tagged and sorted, so they may have been left out of investigations altogether. Technology also can help investigators visualize data frommultiple angles and rapidly combine disparate facts to uncover hidden patterns and connections. • Collaborate in new ways —Systems that house all data on a centralized web platform can enable forensic specialists, detectives, investigators, analysts, agency management, attorneys and outside experts to work together on a case or analyze information across multiple cases simultaneously— using data frommultiple sources, including mobile devices,
About the Author: Louis F. Quijas is a former law enforcement professional who has served at both the federal and local levels. His storied career includes appointments by the FBI Director to oversee the Office of Law Enforcement, and by the President of the United States, as the Assistant Secretary for the Office for State and Local Law Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security. Lou has also served on several national boards - most notably, as President of the National Latino Peace Officers Association, and a mem- ber of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
1 Cellebrite white paper: “Battling the Narcotics Crisis with Analytics Prescription” 2 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2654372 3 https://www.medpagetoday.com/neurology/opioids/78170 4 National Institutes of Health 5 Orlando Sentinel 6 Cellebrite Industry Trend Survey, 2018 7 “Opioid Crisis in America: From Digital Clues to a Murder Conviction” webinar, https://www.cellebrite.com/en/webinars/opioid-crisis-in-america-from- digital-clues-to-a-murder-conviction/ 8 “Opioid Crisis in America: From Digital Clues to a Murder Conviction” webinar, https://www.cellebrite.com/en/webinars/opioid-crisis-in-america-from- digital-clues-to-a-murder-conviction/
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